Hungary F1 GP Auto Racing

Magnussen to start Hungarian GP from pit lane after Q3 crash

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McLaren has confirmed that Kevin Magnussen will start tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix from the pit lane following a severe crash during the final part of qualifying.

As Q3 got underway on Saturday afternoon, a short, sharp rain shower hit the Hungaroring, making the first corner very slippery. Four drivers all ran wide on dry tires, but it was Magnussen who was the biggest loser as he hit the grass before slamming into the wall at an awkward angle.

The incident brought out the red flag to allow the marshals to clear the wreckage. Thankfully, Magnussen walked away unharmed, but he will require a new chassis for the race tomorrow, which means that he will start the race from the pit lane.

“I’m most disappointed for the team,” Magnussen said. “I think we could’ve got another decent qualifying result.

“Now, we just need to get on with it. Starting from the pit lane will make life more difficult, but I’m determined to have a strong race. I’m just very disappointed to have made that mistake.”

Despite crashing, Magnussen qualified for the race in tenth place, meaning that all of the drivers behind him will make up a position on the grid.

In better news for McLaren, Jenson Button ended his poor run of qualifying form to finish seventh on Saturday afternoon in Hungary.

The Briton only narrowly missed out on P6, finishing less than one-tenth of a second behind Felipe Massa. However, he still feels that more work can be done.

“Until qualifying, it felt like it had been raining on me all weekend!” Button jested. “Then, this afternoon, the car felt a lot better than it had in all the other sessions. That was a major positive.

“I think it’s the ‘never give up’ attitude of the guys in the garage. We’d been playing with the set-up all weekend. It’s better now, but there’s still more work needed.”

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Carlos Munoz

Carlos Munoz
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MotorSportsTalk continues its run through the driver-by-driver roster in this year’s Verizon IndyCar Series. Next up in 13th is Carlos Munoz, who fell back to earth a bit after winning Indianapolis 500, then series rookie-of-the-year honors in consecutive years.

Carlos Munoz, No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda

  • 2014: 8th Place, Best Finish 3rd, Best Start 3rd, 3 Podiums, 5 Top-5, 8 Top-10, 0 Laps Led, 10.5 Avg. Start, 12.6 Avg. Finish
  • 2015: 13th Place, 1 Win, Best Start 4th, 1 Podium, 3 Top-5, 7 Top-10, 25 Laps Led, 14.0 Avg. Start, 12.1 Avg. Finish

Munoz fell down to earth a little bit in his second full season in IndyCar, albeit not as badly as fellow 2014 rookie Jack Hawksworth, who’d switched teams and had a myriad of issues throughout the season. He won his first race in the rain at Detroit race one, which was well judged, but there were precious other highlights from the driver who has showcased “wow” potential in the past.

His qualifying fell off year-to-year and that was probably the single thing to pinpoint as to why the decline occurred, falling from eighth to 13th in points. What had been a 10.5 average in 2014 fell to 14th this year, and behind teammates Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Ovals seemed his strongest type of circuit this year on the whole. Like teammate Justin Wilson, he’d been in position to score what would have been his third straight Indianapolis 500 top-five finish if a late splash of fuel wasn’t needed. Sixth at Texas from fourth on the grid marked his best overall weekend of the year, and fifth at Iowa and Pocono were also fairly good results.

But whereas Munoz picked his spots well last year and delivered a handful of podiums, his Detroit win marked his only podium visit this year. He didn’t really make much of an impression and was more anonymous than not over the course of the year. His future with Andretti is uncertain for 2016.

Williams maximizes wet setup work despite limited running in Sochi

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With action pretty much limited in both practice sessions due to the diesel spillage in free practice one and rain in free practice two for the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, teams could only do limited wet-weather runs.

Williams Martini Racing tried to make the best of the circumstances, as one of only five teams that completed laps in FP2 (McLaren, Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Ferrari) with eight cars.

Felipe Massa led second practice but it was an essentially meaningless session.

“It was quite a stunted session today which stopped us from completing all of the work we wanted to,” said Rob Smedley, Williams’ head of vehicle performance. “We had planned to run in the wet but we had a strange situation this afternoon in that half of the circuit was much wetter than the other half which made most of the tests null and void.

“We have been working on the wet set-up of the car and so wanted to get out at the end of FP2 to see the progress we have made. In a similar vein to our low speed corner work in Singapore, we seem to be making progress. We got through all of the bits and pieces we wanted to get through in terms of control systems and power unit set-up, and we have to go into tomorrow with a good plan for FP3 to get the car set-up for qualifying and the race.”

Valtteri Bottas finished third in Sochi a year ago, while Massa seeks a rebound after a fuel flow issue in qualifying resigned him to a Q1 elimination and an 11th place finish.